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Acoustic noise induces attention shifts and reduces foraging performance in three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus).

Purser J, Radford AN - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: The addition of noise induced only mild fear-related behaviours--there was an increase in startle responses, but no change in the time spent freezing or hiding compared to a silent control--and thus had no significant impact on the total amount of food eaten.However, there was strong evidence that the addition of noise increased food-handling errors and reduced discrimination between food and non-food items, results that are consistent with a shift in attention.Consequently, noise resulted in decreased foraging efficiency, with more attacks needed to consume the same number of prey items.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom. julia.purser@bristol.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Acoustic noise is known to have a variety of detrimental effects on many animals, including humans, but surprisingly little is known about its impacts on foraging behaviour, despite the obvious potential consequences for survival and reproductive success. We therefore exposed captive three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) to brief and prolonged noise to investigate how foraging performance is affected by the addition of acoustic noise to an otherwise quiet environment. The addition of noise induced only mild fear-related behaviours--there was an increase in startle responses, but no change in the time spent freezing or hiding compared to a silent control--and thus had no significant impact on the total amount of food eaten. However, there was strong evidence that the addition of noise increased food-handling errors and reduced discrimination between food and non-food items, results that are consistent with a shift in attention. Consequently, noise resulted in decreased foraging efficiency, with more attacks needed to consume the same number of prey items. Our results suggest that acoustic noise has the potential to influence a whole host of everyday activities through effects on attention, and that even very brief noise exposure can cause functionally significant impacts, emphasising the threat posed by ever-increasing levels of anthropogenic noise in the environment.

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Acoustic noise increases startle responses but does not affect total food consumption.Response of foraging sticklebacks to playbacks of silence (S), brief (10 s) white noise (BN) and prolonged (300 s) white noise (PN). Bars show mean±1s.e.m. response for 24 fish during each playback of a repeated-measures experiment, with significant (** p≤0.01) and non-significant (ns p≥0.05) posthoc differences indicated (paired t-tests with Bonferroni correction). Brief noise and prolonged noise both significantly affected (A) the number of startle responses, but had no significant effect on (B) the total number of food items consumed.
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pone-0017478-g004: Acoustic noise increases startle responses but does not affect total food consumption.Response of foraging sticklebacks to playbacks of silence (S), brief (10 s) white noise (BN) and prolonged (300 s) white noise (PN). Bars show mean±1s.e.m. response for 24 fish during each playback of a repeated-measures experiment, with significant (** p≤0.01) and non-significant (ns p≥0.05) posthoc differences indicated (paired t-tests with Bonferroni correction). Brief noise and prolonged noise both significantly affected (A) the number of startle responses, but had no significant effect on (B) the total number of food items consumed.

Mentions: During trials, live Daphnia sp. were delivered by hand to each side of the tank to provide a distributed food source. Daphnia delivery was conducted in a standard manner in all trials, using Pasteur pipettes pre-filled with a suspension of numerous live Daphnia. Pipettes were moved towards the tank in a smooth manner until the tip was approximately 15 mm above the water surface in one of two corners of the tank nearest the experimenter. Pipettes were then squeezed until one Daphnia (or two at the start of trials) dropped gently into the water. Pipettes were then moved away from the tank until they were below the line of sight of the tank (and swapped for full pipettes as necessary; kept within reach so that no experimenter body movement was required). Since fish are normally fed with researchers in full view and observed closely for husbandry purposes, and are thus well-acclimated to human proximity, Daphnia delivery during these trials was conducted with the experimenter in full sight of the fish. Fish showed no signs of adverse reaction to this Daphnia delivery method during pre-trial tests, and startle responses to the Daphnia delivery during silent control trials were rare (see Figure 4a).


Acoustic noise induces attention shifts and reduces foraging performance in three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus).

Purser J, Radford AN - PLoS ONE (2011)

Acoustic noise increases startle responses but does not affect total food consumption.Response of foraging sticklebacks to playbacks of silence (S), brief (10 s) white noise (BN) and prolonged (300 s) white noise (PN). Bars show mean±1s.e.m. response for 24 fish during each playback of a repeated-measures experiment, with significant (** p≤0.01) and non-significant (ns p≥0.05) posthoc differences indicated (paired t-tests with Bonferroni correction). Brief noise and prolonged noise both significantly affected (A) the number of startle responses, but had no significant effect on (B) the total number of food items consumed.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3046255&req=5

pone-0017478-g004: Acoustic noise increases startle responses but does not affect total food consumption.Response of foraging sticklebacks to playbacks of silence (S), brief (10 s) white noise (BN) and prolonged (300 s) white noise (PN). Bars show mean±1s.e.m. response for 24 fish during each playback of a repeated-measures experiment, with significant (** p≤0.01) and non-significant (ns p≥0.05) posthoc differences indicated (paired t-tests with Bonferroni correction). Brief noise and prolonged noise both significantly affected (A) the number of startle responses, but had no significant effect on (B) the total number of food items consumed.
Mentions: During trials, live Daphnia sp. were delivered by hand to each side of the tank to provide a distributed food source. Daphnia delivery was conducted in a standard manner in all trials, using Pasteur pipettes pre-filled with a suspension of numerous live Daphnia. Pipettes were moved towards the tank in a smooth manner until the tip was approximately 15 mm above the water surface in one of two corners of the tank nearest the experimenter. Pipettes were then squeezed until one Daphnia (or two at the start of trials) dropped gently into the water. Pipettes were then moved away from the tank until they were below the line of sight of the tank (and swapped for full pipettes as necessary; kept within reach so that no experimenter body movement was required). Since fish are normally fed with researchers in full view and observed closely for husbandry purposes, and are thus well-acclimated to human proximity, Daphnia delivery during these trials was conducted with the experimenter in full sight of the fish. Fish showed no signs of adverse reaction to this Daphnia delivery method during pre-trial tests, and startle responses to the Daphnia delivery during silent control trials were rare (see Figure 4a).

Bottom Line: The addition of noise induced only mild fear-related behaviours--there was an increase in startle responses, but no change in the time spent freezing or hiding compared to a silent control--and thus had no significant impact on the total amount of food eaten.However, there was strong evidence that the addition of noise increased food-handling errors and reduced discrimination between food and non-food items, results that are consistent with a shift in attention.Consequently, noise resulted in decreased foraging efficiency, with more attacks needed to consume the same number of prey items.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom. julia.purser@bristol.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Acoustic noise is known to have a variety of detrimental effects on many animals, including humans, but surprisingly little is known about its impacts on foraging behaviour, despite the obvious potential consequences for survival and reproductive success. We therefore exposed captive three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) to brief and prolonged noise to investigate how foraging performance is affected by the addition of acoustic noise to an otherwise quiet environment. The addition of noise induced only mild fear-related behaviours--there was an increase in startle responses, but no change in the time spent freezing or hiding compared to a silent control--and thus had no significant impact on the total amount of food eaten. However, there was strong evidence that the addition of noise increased food-handling errors and reduced discrimination between food and non-food items, results that are consistent with a shift in attention. Consequently, noise resulted in decreased foraging efficiency, with more attacks needed to consume the same number of prey items. Our results suggest that acoustic noise has the potential to influence a whole host of everyday activities through effects on attention, and that even very brief noise exposure can cause functionally significant impacts, emphasising the threat posed by ever-increasing levels of anthropogenic noise in the environment.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus